High Park Zoo

Should the High Park Zoo Still Exist?

A small zoo has long been a feature of Toronto's High Park, but is it time to shut it down and send the animals back to their natural habitat?

That's certainly the verdict of one black-marker-armed visitor whose commentary I recently spotted on the sign (pictured above) in front of the llama cage. It's perhaps a reflection of the growing movement among the current generation of 20 and 30 somethings who believe that animals have an intrinsic right to live free in their natural habitat; and that the whole concept of zoos is therefore misguided.

It's a debate that obviously has two sides to the story - with many agreeing that a well run zoo does have a purpose beyond a mere entertainment and educational value. The primary benefit (and strongest argument for those in favour of zoos) is one of conservation - a mandate that the Toronto Zoo is very keen to communicate.

But looking closer at the High Park Zoo it's tough to rationalize that there's much in the way of conservation efforts going on here. None of the animals on display are anywhere close to nearing extinction, and some - including sheep, cattle, bison, peacocks and llamas are so common that it might surprise some visitors that they're even here.

The photos below are ones I took earlier this month. I have to say that in particular the bisons looked pretty unimpressed with the lack of room they have to roam.

LlamaZooZoo AnimalsZoo FeedingZoo Lounging

Join the conversation Load comments

Latest in City

It'll feel like summer in Toronto this weekend as temperatures soar to 20 C

Ontario police charge four people in a car together for not living in the same household

Toronto police just pulled a car out of Humber Bay that was stolen 25 years ago

Police bust LCBO thieves with $115K of stolen booze and perfume in Mississauga

One of Toronto Zoo's miracle cubs has died

There's a better way to give friends cash in Toronto now and it involves balloons

People are rallying around a Toronto mother and son threatened with eviction

As many as 6 break-ins as a second Toronto neighbourhood falls victim to crime spree